Why I am writing a book on Safe Teen Driving Circles.

I had to title the blog in present tense.  To say I am doing this.  I am writing a book on Safe Teen Driving Circles.

The number one cause of death for people 16-24 is car crashes.  Depending on the study 40-60% of those crashes involve alcohol.  The other 40-60% involve other factors.  For example distracted driving (by an ipod, cell phone or friend).  Teens made risky driving choices.

This means that parents are losing teens to something preventable and sudden.  Losing a loved one, before the natural order of life adds trauma to the grief.  Preventable and sudden are also common denominators when trauma is involved.  I love my own kid more than anything else.  I’m writing the book for those parents who have lost a child.

I’m also writing the book to teach others about using Circle process.  The use of Circle in Safe Teen Driving Circles is the “topic” selected for the Circle.  I started with Kay Pranis, and Peacemaking Circle approach.  Her tool that indicated how to address problem-solving with relationship building became the four phases of Circle that I use. 

Restorative Justice is typically a response to wrong-doing.  The Safe Teen Driving Circle process is using Circles to prevent, address a problem.  Stories of those tragically impacted share their heart, their experience and the reality they live.  It is the story within the Circle process that is designed to change teen behavior.

I’m writing the book.

Twitter as a restorative community, get in action to make it happen.

I am a twitter-er.  A twitterbee.  Twitter_256x256Right now I am following 600 people and I have almost 400 people following me.  I follow people based on interests in Bikram Yoga, Nonprofit, Restorative Justice and personal growth.   I have few writing and public speaking connections as well.

The thing I like about Twitter – is that you create your community based on who you follow.  I’ve gotten into a routine of reading tweets before bed.  I like to see what is being said, many good quotes, links to stories, websites and resources.  I try to be someone people would want to follow. 

I try to post funny, that’s life, kinds of things.  Of course I am throwing in a link to my own blog or an article on Restorative Justice I’d like to share.

The point is, I’m in action here and I’m making it happen.

  I’ve also been in action with Bikram yoga, the benefits are amazing!  In addition to losing 5 pounds, my waist, arms, face and hips all seem slimmer, the tone is obvious.  I also had really good blood pressure at the doctor.  When I was asked for a few deep breaths, I realized my lung capacity had improved.  This hasn’t been without the hard work.  I didn’t make the 30 day challenge, HOWEVER, I do get to 3-4 classes a week.

At my last two Bikram Yoga classes, there were people sitting out postures.  Maybe I didn’t ever notice this happened.  Maybe by chance I got two classes in a row, where I was near the “sideliners”.  I didn’t understand it in the first class.  Except I recognized one guy from an early class and not very far into the class, he was on his hands and knees and you could just see him battling the heat.  I thought:  “mind over matter buddy”.  The harder you fight the heat, the harder it is.  I learned that in sweat lodge.  You surrender to win.

But sitting out, and not even trying.  I couldn’t believe it.  I took a dose of thankfulness that I am me.  I realize that it’s a gift to be an engaged active person.  You get zero benefit from zero effort.

I was telling my daughter and her friend about these people that don’t even try.  I teased that I was going to say “hey will you get me a drink of water if you aren’t going to do anything”.  They laughed, it was kinda mean.  But the “sideliners” weren’t even trying.  It occured to me, I didn’t need to be annoyed with someone else I needed to focus on me.

Then I find the twitter: 

“The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you didn’t write.”~Sol Saks

from:  RT@WritingSpirit: RT @bridgebldr

(RT means RT, you acknowledge that someone else said this, you re-tweet them)  I realized I’ve been a “sideliner” about my book.  I put it down in Febuary and I’ve not been back to it.  I’m working with a great coach, we’re halfway done and well . . . a blog post of effort.

Twitter is helping me stay real.  Twitter is helping think of things different.  I find that community of relationships restorative.  In a way I am being held accountable by people telling the truth on twitter.

Where in your life are you “sidelining” it?  Let’s tackle those spots head on,  zero benefit in zero effort.

Writing Restoratively is just explaining who you are.

I am working on my second professional journal article.  The first one was over 15 years ago, as part of a class project/group effort.  This article is my third real attempt at scholorly writing.

You may have read enough of this blog to know, this is where and how I emerged my writing skills.  My personal, conversation tone has gotten me positive feedback.  I remain pretty happy with my blog post view counts, and consider this a healthy habit/hobby.  Something that is just a “hobby” doesn’t lend to professional journal type of writing.  Professional journal articles are not the personal, conversational tone.

I knew writing for a journal would be a challenge to myself, a new hurdle.  Thankfully I got support from a good editor.

After reading a second draft, as we were talking on the phone about it.  Mind you, we’ve never met.  He says to me “I am reading this, trying to figure you out”.  This stops me a grabs my attention, trying to figure me out.  I thought “shit, I’m so out there on the blog, what’s left to figure out”.  I must have really left myself in this writing.  He says that I have an idea, I’m all excited about it.  Then I just move on, without explanation and then start another thought.  I chuckled.  Another example I really do have adult ADHD (self-diagnosis).  Oh I like having it.  It keeps people around me amused.

Like today (or this tangent).  I was on the phone in the back room of the office.  While on the phone, I decided the vacuum cleaner needed emptied.  So I got the garbage bag, dumped the contents in the bag, used a pen to push out a clump of dirt.  The pen had an ink blob that got on my hand.  I went to get the ink off.  Walked out of the back room.  Chatted with my coworker and then started answering my emails.  Five minutes later, she came by my office, she gathered up the vacuum garbage.  Walking by my door, she laughed and said “I love how you can just leave something and go to the next thing”.  Thank goodness she found that an enduring rather than annoying.  THANK goodness for me she just picked it up.

So I explained who I was in the journal article (I’m back to that now).  I returned my revised version back to him.  The editor said “wow, that was fast”.  He also had minimal changes for me.  I thought WOW, that was easier than I thought.  I sat down and explained myself.  I explained getting to the Circle process style I use.  Well I had to say SCVRJP uses, because you aren’t so personal in the journal article.

This one time in a circle . . .

“I’m narcissistic, I’m a blogger” Mena Trott

I had some leisure time today, so I was watching TED video’s.  I love watching the speakers to pick up public speaking skills and the content is always excellent.  You learn a great deal watching anything on TED.Mena Trout on TED

It had been awhile since I had done this, the on-line time in my life used to be reading and surfing.  Now my on-line time has been about blogging.  Producing more that consuming.

Today I watched a video on blogging by Mena Trott.  Click here if interested.  I was drawn in as she did the very best of speaking things – she shared more about herself and who she is.  She explained her blogging experiences and the power of blogging.

It struck me when she said “I’m narcissistic, I’m a blogger”.  From her presentation, she did not appear arrogant or what I would consider narcissistic.  The way she claimed it was very cute.  Isn’t that how it works, when we claim the things that our friends would say about us behind our backs?

Mena’s talk presented a little more about the type of person that would choose to blog.  Lately I’ve been wondering about my little hobby here, to keep this blog.  See, I am super busy, yet I find time to blog (nearly daily).  When Mena’s talk explained the importance of personal recordkeeping on who you are, I got that.

As I weigh out, busy life, priorities, why blog, it’s become a stress relieving saving grace to blog.  It keeps me a little more accoutable to something.  Blogging nearly daily.  Honestly, I do cheat once in awhile.  I like to see my calendar full, and sometimes I’ll back date an entry instead of post 2 on one day.  That’s why there is a calendar on the site, for me to keep track of doing this daily.

Last week at a training, someone approached me and said she found the blog really helpful.  That justified a good 3 months of work.  See I get value out of this so I put value in.  The value I get back is helping other people, and promoting Restorative Justice Circles.

I put value into investing in myself.  I guess as Mena put it, I’m narcissistic.

Twittering helped me give GLAMOUR a good quote!

The September issue of GLAMOUR magazine will feature a brief editorial article and I’ll be quoted as an “expert”.  I want to write something here to minimize the reference to me as an expert, it seems arrogant not to.  But let me say this.  I overheard someone cover_glamour_190saying an expert is just someone who knows a lot, about a little.  So I set about learning everything I could about Restorative Justice and Restorative Justice Circles. 

I’ve worked hard, pushed myself and well, I just posted I was narcissistic, so I won’t go into a explanation or minimization of the fact I will be an expert by GLAMOUR magazine.  What are they going to call me anyway?  Do they want to say quoting the average Joe.

Having said that.  Let me explain that when the opportunity came up I thought it was pretty cool.  I did my phone interview with the journalist.  I had a chance of being cut.  It was only a 400 word piece.

Turns out, I was selected as one of 5 to be quoted.  Three people got cut of the 8 original experts.  That made me happy.  It’s a better story to be quoted in GLAMOUR than, I was almost quoted in GLAMOUR.

I have told a few people about this, and I end up saying I wish I was the hot mama airbrushed on the cover, but hey, gotta start somewhere!

Twittering helped because the editors wanted brief.  Brief is not my strong suit.  Especially when describing a concept so foreign and misunderstood.  I think we have it.  I am excited to see how it turns out.

It Twitter and Tweeting are still unknown, do yourself a favor and check it out.  I’ve seen Restorative Justice related comments really grow.  Being forced to make statements with 140 characters takes skill.

You can do a personal twitter.  “Eating strawberry ice cream” not an uncommon type of tweet. 

There is the resource type of Tweet.  This provided a website link.  In this case you have to fit in your statement around a website link.  I sometimes mention my blog topic, but I am having to tweet that in limited characters, and yet make something about it seem worth checking out.  When you tweet, you are looking to give people something that draws them to wanting more of you.  A click to a webpage you recommend.  Reference to a news article.  Something that they are spending on-line time somewhere – thanks to you.

In addition to my writing skills from Twittering, Twitter also helped me give a good quote from reading good quotes.  My twitter peeps (friends) are good “quoters”.  Reading good tweets is important to me, and I believe to others.  To be successful on Twitter, you need to put up something of value.  For example, I had to stop following the guy that told what he was listening to every half hour.  Like I cared, I didn’t even know who he was.  That is the thing about Twitter, you have to be interesting to strangers.

A good tweet is broad enough it catches everyone and yet narrow enough it feels personalized.  Its got to be a little about you and alot about them.

I have no doubt twitter was practice for giving a good brief quote!

You can follow me on Twitter, and my tweets are featured on this blog page.  Check them out.  That is the place I provide links to newstories or websites on RJ.  I also try to make Restorative Justice relevant tweets.

An excellent read on Restorative Justice and a life well lived.

I am so passionate.  It runs intense or not at all for me.  So I read this book in less than 24 hours.  I got home around 10 pm, to find Dreams from the Monster Factory had arrived in the mail. 

Book Cover Sunny Schwartz
Book Cover Sunny Schwartz

I can’t remember the first time I heard about this book.  I do remember seeing Sunny on Oprah.  Then my friend Loreen Walker did a post on the book.

The book came up again at the National Conference on Restorative Justice.  I was chatting with some friends who mentioned it.  Linda White talked about comments Sunny made on the Oprah show.  She said “we have a legal system, not a justice system”.  Linda talked about meeting Sunny, and Ellen Halbert another National figure in the Restorative Justice movement, confirmed this was a good book.

The very next time I was on Amazon, I moved this item from my wish list to my cart.  I can’t recommend it enough, I might have to read it again!

I just posted a video of Sunny, to my facebook and twitter.  Check out the site here.  Pictures from the people featured in the book.

Albert Einstein:

Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.

What really struck me with Sunny’s book, was the openness about who she is and how she experienced her life.  The raw honesty was refreshing.  I’ve written it many times and the feature of this blog is the intersection of personal and professional.  I think by sharing ourselves we contribute to our own sense of belonging.

I’ve been thinking over a blog post – on why being so transparent is relevant.  This book helped me understand.  I believe in the spritual transformation of Restorative Justice practitioners.  You can hardly speak of that transformation with out relevance to your own life journey.

I appreciate Sunny’s openness, I loved her book.  I look forward to meeting her in person someday, I think we have alot in common.

Book Review – 4 stars!

I believe in blogging and I believe you could be a blogger.

I did a post back in October – writers, write and painters paint.   I didn’t know that in 7 months over 8,000 people would have taken a look at my blog, my writing.  It’s given me many gifts. 

Recently in Texas, at a National Conference someone told me how much they like my blog.  I almost got a head rush, trying to think of all the things she knows about me.  Right now I have 234 posts, I haven’t exactly been guarded.  Since my mouth was closed, thinking of how to respond.  She shared how cool she thought it was that my Aunt posted the comment for me.  Click here to read that post.  I liked that, hearing what she thought was a great story from this blog.  That helped me relate right back to her.

Blogging has helped me develop confidence in my writing skills.  My style of writing has become pretty apparent.  I’m not shy (not that I was prior to the blog) about certain thoughts and opinions.  I guess there is no point to stating an opinion if you can’t make a good arguement for it.  We ALL have stories.  We can all be bloggers.

I have found now, that I keep suggesting and encouraging other people to be bloggers.  I tried to encourage an Attorney who is running a Juvenile Justice program in a law school “you can be blogger”.  I also suggested this the Mother of a murdered child.  I think the benefit of “putting yourself” out there in a blog helps you grow as a person.

imagesNike said it best . . . Just Do It.

Start blogging.  I did it for awhile before telling people about it.  Now it’s a standard part of email signatures.  I also say I’m a blogger when I introduce myself to a group.

SCVRJP recently interviewed for a program assistant position.  A few people had read my blog.  The absolutely knew who they would be working for.  To tell you the truth.  I think a few board members sitting in the interview, may have been curious enough to look at this.

Where do you express yourself?  Where do you show who you are and what your values are?  See, blogging can do that for you.

I’ve also found that people are open to giving feedback and suggestions.  That’s helpful.  Knowing how to even try to put in links gets you going in the right direction.

I’d love to see more Restorative Justice practitioners, teachers, educators start blogging.  Our new staff person started today.  I was telling her about restorative justice.  She’s a little familiar to the concept.  I’m so vividly confident about it.  She said “there must be some people who don’t agree with this”.  I laughed, oh yes, there are some.  Restorative Justice is looking at things very differently.  Lets start blogging more about it.

If you have any questions please let me know, I’d love to help you cross any hurdles!

blogger, Kris

My favorite blog to read, and where I took blogging advice.

I love reading Penelope Trunk’s blog.

She blogs about running a company, which I relate to running a non-profit.

She is open and genuinely herself.  I have a style like that.  I like seeing someone out there more than I am.  She blogs about her sex life, and uses swear words.  That’s something else I like to read her blogs for, she’s a single woman.  She’s also a Mom, so I relate to her on that level.header

She has fresh perspectives, she puts what she thinks out there, clearly.  I like that.  She makes me feel more normal.  She also has a flare for providing interesting and fun information.  In a recent post, I learned the smell of pizza makes men want to have sex.

Writing restoratively, and changing the world.

I didn’t know how focusing on writing was going to change me.  It’s been a huge impact to try and develop writing skills.  It’s been a process of uncovering something that’s been there all along.  Kind of a paradox, something new and something old at the same time.  It’s reinforced and shaped who I am. 

Being a blogger has been a curious, fun and sometimes scary adventure.  I love it.  I started at the suggestions and prompts of other people.  I wanted to get practice for writing the book “On the Road Together: Safe Teen Driving“.  So I started blogging and blogging and well, blogging.  I learned you should blog about a passion and interest.  For me, that was easy – restorative justice.

I’ve always had elements of being driven. It was over 10 years ago, friends and I were having fun taking ‘Cosmo’ quiz.  The question was something aheader_logo1bout “who of your friends is most like Geraldine Ferarro?” (the first female vice-president candidate 1984).  Much to my surprise my friends all yelled “Kris”.  I didn’t get that.  The woman I saw in the mirror, was not the woman my friends saw.  I said “what???”.  They all acted like I was faking this curiosity and shock.  I decided then to embrace it. 

I always knew I wanted to write a book, it was a ‘someday’ goal.  Then I secured grant money, and had support of a publisher.  Things lined up.  Then I had to face up . . . I don’t think I know how to write!  Now I hear I’m transparent, but I think it’s meant in a good way.  I put myself “out there” and that must be okay too.  I know I use writing for personal growth.  I believe I’m writing . . .restoratively.

Both writing and meditating are ways to expand and enrich time . . .we learn to examine our thoughts and feelings from a new perspective, to watch the river of our consciousness flow by . . .we experience our lives as lived events . . .material to be carefully examined for richness and meaning . . . to live more deeply and fully.     by Mary Pipher, from the book Writing to Change the World.

 This quote sums up to me, my links between writing and restorative justice.  Which I will now call writing restoratively.  Writing as the book title suggests to change the world.  It’s magic to consider what I post on my blog, write for a book or professional journal article as material capable of changing the world. 

Restorative justice changes peoples worldsThe Mom who has renewed hope in her son after processing harm he caused with community members and victims.  The offender who feels relieved and ready to move ahead positively.  The community member/volunteer who says “I’m a recovering alcoholic and addict, and now I’m addicted to Circles”.  The storytellers and speakers who get to contribute back to community.  Restorative Justice give place to trans-formative process, life changing process.  Changing individuals is the first step in changing the world.

Peace out – Kris